BY JONATHAN VALANIA A long time ago, in a Clinton campaign far, far away, James Carville famously declared that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Alabama in between. Aw, yeah: Pennsyltucky. We know thee well. It’s sort of like watching the Dukes Of Hazzard after smoking too much kielbasa. Like sweat socks with a Sunday suit. Like the Deer Hunter costumed by Wal-Mart. It’s the long dark Chicken Dance of the national soul. Lord help us all. Anyway, with the national press are already converging on the Keystone state to get some local color on their laptops, we feel an obligation to Sherpa them up to the mountaintop electoral bellwethers that only a local nature boy would know. Every day, or close to it, from now until April 22nd we will be calling up some unsuspecting Pennsyltuckian picked randomly out of the phone book and ask them point blank: Hillary or Obama? Today is, sad to say, the last installment of our Pennsyltucky phone poll. But, dear reader, we go out with a bang, because today we talked to Barbara Valania, aka Ma Phawker, of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
ME: Hi mom! It’s me, your son.
BABS: Which one are you again?
ME: The blonde one? Used to leave the toilet seat up?
BABS: Oh, yes, I remember you now.
ME: So, we are gonna go vote tomorrow right? Vote for change?
BABS: That is going to be difficult this year. I am in Florida, me and [her friend] Mary got sent to a nursing conference on bi-polar patients. But I left you some coldcuts to make a sandwich.
ME: You’re WHERE? But…but we have voted together in every presidential election since 1988! Remember when we voted for Dukakis, and he lost?
ME: And we voted for Clinton and they impeached him?
ME: And then we voted for Gore, and Supreme Court staged a coup d’ tat and installed Bush against the will of the people?
BABS: Oh yes, that’s right. I remember that.
ME: And then we voted for Kerry and they stole the election in Ohio?
BABS: Did they really?
ME: YES, we have discussed this already!
BABS: Maybe I should have done one of those ‘absentee’ thingees. Are you going to make yourself a sandwich? Just make sure you clean up after yourself.
ME: What if Obama loses by just ONE vote?
BABS: Then he should have campaigned harder.
ME: You are tough, Babs.
BABS: Just remember, Joy Boy, I brought you into this world and I can take you out. Now, are you going to make a sandwich?
ME: Yes, mom.
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[Photo by AMY Z. QUINN]